Doe v. Austin
“I just want what others who have served their country want – the ability to take care of my family…My daughter shouldn’t be denied the healthcare she needs just because she’s transgender.”
-John Doe, plaintiff in Doe v. Austin
A 23-year veteran of the Air Force and Marine Corps and his 21-year-old adult daughter are challenging a 1976 federal statute that prohibits the Military Health System, administered by an entity within the Department of Defense called TRICARE, from providing coverage for medically necessary surgical treatments for gender dysphoria for dependents of servicemembers.
The plaintiff John Doe receives healthcare coverage for himself and his family through the military health system, just as other current and former servicemembers do. John’s daughter, Jane, is a 21-year-old transgender woman who, as a college student, remains on her father’s health plan.
At the recommendation of her doctors, Jane, who suffers from gender dysphoria, began treatment for gender transition, as a young adult. While TRICARE covers the cost of medications Jane needs, it does not cover essential surgical care.
Healthcare experts and professional health organizations including the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association recognize gender affirming surgeries as safe, effective and medically necessary treatments for gender dysphoria.
John Doe and his daughter are represented by GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) attorneys Ben Klein and Jennifer Levi, and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP attorneys Shane McCammon, Matthew Moses, Seth Harrington, Brittany Roehrs, and Ethan Dowling. They are challenging the statutory exclusion of coverage for transgender dependents’ medically necessary care as a violation of their constitutional rights to Equal Protection and Due Process, and as a violation of the federal Rehabilitation Act.